Top Ten Tuesday – Moms

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Eight Best and Worst Fictional Moms

 

Best:

 

1. Molly Weasley from Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling. She was a fierce protector of anyone she deemed family. 

2. Maura Sargent from The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. She was a great character and she supported Blue.

3. Frannie Lancaster from The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. She is one of my favorite moms because she did whatever it took to give Hazel a good life.

4. Elizabeth from The Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh. She taught Victoria the language of flowers and loved her.

 

Worst:

 

1. Ingrid Magnussen from White Oleander by Janet Fitch. Narcissistic, controlling, murderous…

2. Corrine Dollanganger from Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews. She locked her kids up in an attic. 

3. Margaret White from Carrie by Stephen King. Talk about crazy…

4. Adora Preaker from Sharp Objects by Gillian Flynn. *shivers* She hurt a baby just so it would cry and she could comfort it. 

 

Review – The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2) by Marie Rutkoski

 

The Winner’s Crime (The Winner’s Trilogy #2)

By Marie Rutkowski

SummaryBook two of the dazzling Winner’s Trilogy is a fight to the death as Kestrel risks betrayal of country for love.

The engagement of Lady Kestrel to Valoria’s crown prince means one celebration after another. But to Kestrel it means living in a cage of her own making. As the wedding approaches, she aches to tell Arin the truth about her engagement… if she could only trust him. Yet can she even trust herself? For—unknown to Arin—Kestrel is becoming a skilled practitioner of deceit: an anonymous spy passing information to Herran, and close to uncovering a shocking secret.
As Arin enlists dangerous allies in the struggle to keep his country’s freedom, he can’t fight the suspicion that Kestrel knows more than she shows. In the end, it might not be a dagger in the dark that cuts him open, but the truth. And when that happens, Kestrel and Arin learn just how much their crimes will cost them.

Source: I borrowed a Kindle copy from the library

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Review:

Everyone raved about this trilogy and I enjoyed book one, but I wasn’t completely sold on this story just yet. The Winner’s Crime was almost like a totally different story as Kestrel was set to marry the emperor’s son and she attempted to stay in her place, ensure Arin was able to keep Herran as the independent territory, and spy for Herran. 

Here’s the thing. I like the plot, I like the idea of this whole game being played and Kestrel trying to balance both sides as a strategist. But I still just feel like something is missing, things are kind of glossed over, and it’s just way too easy for Kestrel to succeed. And when she doesn’t or other people don’t, people die, and it still doesn’t even feel like it’s dangerous. I don’t know. I’m just missing a crucial piece here and I can’t seem to really care about the characters because I don’t really know them. I just felt like I was watching a show that everyone else has been watching for seasons and I just don’t know who any of these characters are supposed to be. 

It seems like I’m in the minority for not liking this book. I needed the story to not switch gears so much and start doing some more character development. The walking-on-eggshells in the court to stay under the emperors radar would have been so much more satisfying if I was more involved with who the characters were. The fact that the events in the first book happened so quickly just made me skeptical about everything involving the political plot. 

Honestly, I think maybe it’s me. For some reason, I’m not connecting the way I feel like I should’ve and I’m not quite certain why it fell so flat for me. 

Star 3

Review – The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy) by Marie Rutkoski

 

The Winner’s Curse (The Winner’s Trilogy #1) 

By Marie Rutkoski

SummaryWinning what you want may cost you everything you love 

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions. One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin. But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined. Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.

Source: I purchased a kindle copy.

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Review:

The Winner’s Curse has been on my TBR for awhile. I vaguely remember the hype when it came out and then, more recently, the hype when the finale released. I am glad I waited to read it because I didn’t have any expectations at this point and just wanted an entertaining story to engage me and not feel like work to trudge through. The Winner’s Curse was exactly what I needed and I enjoyed it.

Kestrel was a likable character because she was different. She was not a rule follower and the fact that her father was a general allowed her a little more freedom to be more of herself. She played instruments and went around without an escort despite the society frowning upon it. She had great instincts and was good at strategizing, even giving her father tips when she felt so inclined. She ended up purchasing a slave at an auction without really understanding why. She wasn’t the type to take advantage of her station and participate in the slave trade, but she couldn’t help herself. 

It could’ve been a love story and I suppose in some ways it was, but not in the way I expected. It was like she noticed the slave’s defiance and craved that as someone who also considered herself defiant. She wanted someone who understood her, I think. And he did, but he had some motives of his own. I feel like they had a mutual respect that neither one wanted to acknowledge too much and I don’t know if it’s really love so much as respect and attraction, but I’m intrigued to see where the story will go after the events that took place in this first book. I don’t want to give too much away about the plot, but I was glad that it wasn’t centered completely on Kestrel and her feelings for a slave and dealt with outside plots and forces, too. 

I don’t think the book is without flaws, though. The romance, if you can call it that, seemed a bit rushed, but maybe that’s because I don’t really think they love each other and I think they have a respect and wariness about the other that creates a sort of push and pull. It was good tension, but I’m not completely sold on the relationship. I also think it rushed what takes years or even decades to happen in societies. I don’t want to give too many details away, but the events, while plausible, would not happen overnight and literally do in the book. That’s not how revolutions or wars work in short spans of time, though the things that happen would totally happen over a longer length of time. I don’t understand why the events are so rushed, but it kind if makes the whole book seem a lot less plausible as a whole. I have to believe there’s a reason for the rushed events because the author has some places she needs to put the characters in order to formulate her grand story, so since it’s the first book, I’ll cut it some slack and continue reading. 

I am concerned about a triangle, though, but I haven’t read the synopsis of book two, so I might be way off.

Overall, the book was entertaining and I finished it quickly, so it did exactly what I needed it to do. I’m back on my reading wagon where I don’t spend days on the same paragraph of whatever book I’m trying to finish, and that’s what I needed. I recommend the book, but only as long as you’re not expecting it to be the next earth shattering YA novel. It’s.. it’s just not quite there yet.

Star 4

Review – Those Girls by Chevy Stevens

 

Those Girls

By Chevy Stevens

SummaryChevy Stevens is back with her most powerful, emotional thriller yet— a story of survival…and revenge. 

Life has never been easy for the three Campbell sisters. Jess, Courtney, and Dani live on a remote ranch in Western Canada where they work hard and try to stay out of the way of their father’s fists. One night, a fight gets out of hand and the sisters are forced to go on the run, only to get caught in an even worse nightmare when their truck breaks down in a small town. Events spiral out of control and a chance encounter with the wrong people leaves them in a horrific and desperate situation. They are left with no choice but to change their names and create new lives. 

Eighteen years later, they are still trying to forget what happened that summer when one of the sisters goes missing and they are pulled back into their past. 

This time there’s nowhere left to run. 

As much of a thriller as it is a deep exploration of the bonds among sisters, THOSE GIRLS is an unforgettable portrait of desperation, loyalty, and evil.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

Those Girls was an entertaining novel with a crazy plot. I never know what Chevy Stevens will throw at me and she doesn’t disappoint. Those Girls was yet another great book full of mystery, twisted events, and unfortunate circumstances. I had my doubts when her books kept up with a similar voice, but she seemed to get away from the narration of a patient speaking to a psychiatrist and has found a great way to tell those similar messed up stories in a better way. 

The three sisters in the book had a tough life on their farm with their abusive and cruel father. A particularly bad fight had the sisters going on the run with no real plan and one destination in mind. They needed money to get to Vancouver and one of the sisters recommending stopping in Cash Creek where she knew a guy who might help out with some cash. Until their truck broke down and they ended up meeting the wrong people.

The book took us through the beginning in their small town to the events at Cash Creek and then their life afterwards. They changed their names and created a life for themselves in Vancouver.. for a while. And somehow, events took them back to that awful place. I don’t want to give any part of the story away, but it was super messed up and I couldn’t put it down, eager to see what crazy thing would happen next. Whenever I thought I knew where the story would go, it ended up surprising me in some way, keeping me on the edge of my seat. The return to Cash Creek was even more unpredictable since new characters were involved this time and I was eager to see how it would all play out for everyone and if the sisters would continue to survive. 

Chevy Stevens is definitely becoming a fast favorite when I’m looking for a screwed up thriller full of emotion. She twists circumstances and it’s never quite as cut and dry as I think. She creates villains who make me wonder and make me want to know more. I never know who to trust or how it will end and Those Girls was another stunning adventure. I will warn that her books are full of some pretty twisted circumstances, so if you’re sensitive to things that probably cause psychological damage to people, she’s not an author you should be reading. But if you like that sort of thing, her books are so great! 

Star 4

 

Top Ten Tuesday – More

toptentuesday

Top Ten Tuesday

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish

Top Ten Five Things I Want To See More Of In Books

1. Villains worth rooting for. It’s tempting I think to give readers a straightforward villain. In YA, sometimes it’s even easy to make an adult this cruel and unfeeling villain. But it’s so much more intriguing to have a villain with complexities. I love it when I want to almost root for the bad guys.

2. More twists in retellings. I love that the whole retelling thing is popular, but I would love to see more twists with those retellings. Give me a reason to pick up a retelling. Give me a Beauty and the Beast where Gaston maybe isn’t as awful as he pretends to be. Where Cinderella wants to do more than go to a ball. I love when authors take the original story and completely turn it upside down instead of just giving me a different version of the same thing. (I’m so glad The Lunar Chronicles exists because that was impressive.)

3. Contemporaries about overcoming. There are a lot of issue books out there and most of them show us the terrible side of being a teen or a person in society. People are awful and they can break you. I love that the message about treating people the right way are out there and being taken seriously. But I also think it’s important to have a realistic fiction setting where a person is their own Katniss or Celaena and truly perseveres even within a situation where other people don’t change or become better and the protagonist simply has to find a change within them to harden and ready themselves for it. The world is not a safe place and I would love to see some more books deal with it the way fantasy does. 

4. Standalone novels. I will always root for standalone novels. I’m so overwhelmed when I’m reading multiple series before they are finished and I’m always waiting for books, forgetting the plot, rereading before release of the latest book, and repeating again and again each year until it’s over. Can we just put a story in one book sometimes? Please?

5. Hopeful science fiction. I love dystopian societies, post apocalyptic worlds, alien invasions, evil technology, etc. But I also love that idea that technology took us to the skies, that our organized government allowed us to start looking outward at the stars. I am not saying I want books with no conflict in the future, I just would like a little less doom and gloom. Will we probably destroy ourselves? Yes. I get it. But I know back in the day, technology had to be this beacon of hope and I would love to see more stories about that mindset. Stories about building rockets and dreaming of colonizing planets. Old school science fiction.

 

 

Review – The Shining by Stephen King

 

The Shining

by Stephen King

SummaryPast horrors and evil lurk in Colorado’s Overlook Hotel, threatening winter season caretakers Jack Torrance, his wife Wendy, and their young son, Danny. Gifted with the shining, a clairvoyant Danny must battle the darkest evil in the remote hotel in an attempt to save his family from its influence.

Source: I purchased a paperback

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Review:

I’ve seen the movie The Shining a hundred times, both the original and the remake. I’m a huge fan of Stephen King novels and I have a list of books from him that I need to read. I’ve grown up seeing so many of the movies and mini series, but sometimes it takes me awhile to finally pick up the brick of a book and dig in. I read Misery over the fall and realized that the book was even better than the very well made film, so I was excited to pick up The Shining finally. 

I enjoyed The Shining and I will admit that the years and years of seeing the movie has kind of ruined it for me because Jack Nicholson was such a strong and terrifying character. The book wasn’t nearly the same in that regard and I realize now why King has said in the past that he didn’t not enjoy the adaptation due to the casting of Jack Torrance. I get it now. The story is much more of a slow build up as the hotel chips away at Jack’s fears and flaws in order to get to Danny. It was more of a delicate dance than a slasher horror with a crazy father. I am inclined to agree and I think if anyone picked up the book after loving the movie and being disappointed are because they expect more from Jack Torrance that the book doesn’t give. He’s not insane. He’s a troubled man trying to do the right thing, dealing with alcohol abuse, and he finally cracked. 

Anyway, regardless of how anyone feels about the movie, the book was spectacular and enjoyable in a lot of ways I wasn’t expecting. It was still easy to plow through even though I knew the general gist of the book. Some of my favorite movie scenes weren’t there, but there were scenes in the book that were just as amazing that didn’t make it into the film. My favorite part was that Wendy wasn’t an unbearable dimwit in the book. And Danny, while strange, was much more tolerable to me, too. I enjoyed the characters quite a bit. The book was a creepy and haunting book and I’m glad I picked it up. I definitely recommend it to any King fans.

Star 4

 

Review – Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5) by Sarah J. Maas

 

Empire of Storms (Throne of Glass #5)

By Sarah J. Maas

SummaryThe long path to the throne has only just begun for Aelin Galathynius. Loyalties have been broken and bought, friends have been lost and gained, and those who possess magic find themselves at odds with those don’t.

As the kingdoms of Erilea fracture around her, enemies must become allies if Aelin is to keep those she loves from falling to the dark forces poised to claim her world. With war looming on all horizons, the only chance for salvation lies in a desperate quest that may mark the end of everything Aelin holds dear.

Aelin’s journey from assassin to queen has entranced millions across the globe, and this fifth installment will leave fans breathless. Will Aelin succeed in keeping her world from splintering, or will it all come crashing down?

Source: I purchased a hardcover.

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Review:

 I started Empire of Storms realizing it had been way too long since I read the last one and so much happened and I wasn’t prepared for there to be more books and I forgot nearly everyone’s name and only vaguely remembered the side characters and their plots.

That was not a good place to be.

I brushed up on the previous book’s plot and felt a little better, but the first half of the book was also slightly boring and confusing since I was trying to jog my memory.The second half of the book was amazing. I’m once again invested in all of the characters and their doomed fates and tangled web of connections. 

It’s hard to review the book because I love Sarah J. Maas, her writing, her complex plots, amazing side characters, and well developed characters in general. I love everyone not just despite, but because of their flaws, even the smirking Aelin. I really do love this series, but I need it to be over. I need closure. I need the books to be twice as long if that’s what we have to do to get the plot rolling and some conclusions forming without waiting a year. I should’ve just let Empire of Storms sit on my shelf until the series ended because I already know I need to reread the entire series again just to really experience it all happening. There is already one fantasy series in my life that is never going to end with a character list a mile long no matter how many of the main ones the author kills and I don’t have room in my life for another extremely complex never ending series. 

What’s weird is that my frustrations with the series don’t appear to be everyone else’s. I’ve always loved the main character and as she changes, I like her even more. I like that she’s arrogant because girls don’t often get to be that way and guys get away with being that way all of the time without nearly as much criticism. I love how people change and grow in the series and love other people. The romance that everyone is cringing over doesn’t bother me, either. I’m used to reading adult paranormal romance and that can be quite cringeworthy, but the sex scenes that everyone said were all over the place (but only happened in one chunk) and outrageous weren’t even really bad, super descriptive, or inappropriate. I’m not a teenager or the parent of one, so I guess maybe I’m in a different place, but if that’s the outrageous content that shouldn’t be in YA, I think we need to rethink ourselves as a society because that was a coupling of love and respect and I’ll never see anything wrong with teens being exposed to that. (And let’s not get started on why brutal violence is okay in YA fiction but a little bit of sexy time makes everyone get their torches out). 

I love this series, but I don’t think I’m going to read it anymore until it’s over. I’ll buy the books and let them sit and just do one binge read because it’s just too much to try to remember all the details and get invested all over again only to have it end and still not be over.

Star 4